One of the most stressful aspects of driving can be parking your car. If you’re on a narrow street and need to parallel park, there’s nothing worse than having to gauge whether you’ll be able to fit into a tight space. Parking has come a long way from the days that pre-date power steering, and thankfully parking sensors have been developed, making the task easier. Find out more about parking sensors, how this tech works and what it can do to help you on the road with our guide.
The History Of Parking Sensors
The first parking sensors were developed during the 1970s, and were originally intended as a device for drivers who were visually impaired. But it was three decades later that the technology became more widely developed and adopted by car manufacturers. The first car off the production line that featured built-in parking sensors was the Toyota Prius in 2003.
What Are Parking Sensors?
Simply put, parking sensors are a parking assistance tool. Usually installed into a vehicle’s rear bumper and activated when the vehicle is shifted into reverse, their main purpose is to alert you to anything that is behind or around a vehicle whilst it is reversing.
They act as a reference point for how close your car is to any potential obstacles when you’re parking. Since their mainstream introduction, they have become a built-in feature in many modern cars. Don’t worry if your car was manufactured before parking sensors became widespread, you can still pick out and fit compatible parking sensors to your vehicle from the wide range available here at Euro Car Parts.
There’re two types of parking sensors. These two options use different kinds of technology to assess what’s around your vehicle while you’re attempting to park it:
Ultrasonic parking sensors
An ultrasonic parking sensor works in a similar way to a bat’s radar, which uses high-frequency soundwaves to detect an object.
When narrowing down the location, ultrasonic sensors produce sound pulses that bounce off any object within the vicinity. This will then be assessed by a receiving device, that calculates how close your car is to the curb or any nearby vehicles.
These sensors are connected to an alarm, which comes into action during the parking process. It will emit an acoustic warning that becomes more frequent the closer you are to an object. Some cars with a built-in system will also offer visual guidance using LED or LEC lights. This option may use the LED display to show on-screen warnings regarding distance.
Even if you’re parking a car using ultrasonic parking sensors, you should be extra careful when you’re reversing. This form of sensory detection can’t pick up any ultrasonic waves from thin or flat objects such as plastic and people, because they’re soft or sound dampening.
Ultrasonic parking sensors are mounted to the front and rear bumpers, areas which can pick up dirt and muck, so need to be kept clean to fully function.
Electromagnetic parking sensors (EPS)
This type of parking sensor uses electromagnetic frequencies to pinpoint any obstacles that are in your car’s path. Electromagnetic sensors have an extensive range and can notice the differences between different objects. This gives them a wider scope of coverage than ultrasonic parking sensors and means they’re able to detect more obstacles that may otherwise be missed.
Both parking sensors become active as soon as reverse gear is engaged. They’ll then automatically cut out once the car has started to accelerate forwards and away from the parking space.
Do I Need Parking Sensors?
There’s an art to parking; while some drivers may enjoy the process, others might find it more difficult. A parking sensor acts as a helpful guide in a situation where space can be tight, and tensions high.
They can provide a level of added confidence on the occasions when you feel like your spatial awareness behind the wheel is lacking, particularly in blinds spots, where it’s easy to miss a high pavement or bollards.
Don’t forget – if your car doesn’t have a built-in parking sensor, it’s easy to fit your own, and there’re parking sensors available for all makes and models at Euro Car Parts.
If you’d like even more visibility when you’re reverse parking, try fitting a high-spec reversing camera to the rear of your car. Like parking sensors, when you engage reverse gear, the camera switches on, showing the footage on your car’s display screen. This will improve your picture of what’s behind you, minimising any blind spots. Even with this parking assistance, you should still remember to look over your shoulder to check what’s happening.